Intro to Spanish Cuisine
Food is a central part of Spanish culture. Meals are a way to bring families together and entertain friends, business associates and guests from all over. Spanish cuisine is often described as a “Mediterranean diet”. Many Spaniards are proud of this and consider their diets to be some of the healthiest in the world.
Main Ingredients in many Spanish meals include: fresh fruits & vegetables, pasta, rice, nuts, extra virgin olive oil, garlic, fish, seafood, various meats, cheeses, yogurt and wine. Paella is one of the most famous dishes in Spain, and it is traditionally served family style in a large pan. Ingredients include rice, beans, various vegetables, chicken & rabbit, seasoned with saffron and other spices. (Also commonly made with seafood!)
Spain has many regions famous for their local cuisine and styles of cooking:
- Galicia – known for its delicious empanadas stuffed with meat & fish, hearty caldo galleg (Galician Soup) made with green veggies, beans and meat, country breads, and seafood (the scallops are still attached to their shells!)
- Basque Country – famous for its tapas which are central to Basque culture, including fresh fish like traditional salted cod; smoked paprika is featured in many dishes like spicy Basque-style chicken,
- Castilla – the central landlocked region is known for its chorizo or sausage smoked with garlic & paprika, sheep’s milk cheese, garlic soups, bean stews, suckling pig and baby lamb
- Andalucia – the hillsides of this region are lined with olive trees that allow for the production of much of Spain’s olive oil; chilled gazpachos, sherry vinegar, a selection of Iberian ham and fresh shellfish are also popular food choices found here
Intro to Japanese Cuisine
Japanese People are some of the most enthusiastic and passionate people when it comes to their cuisine. Intense preparation and meticulous presentation are central elements of Japanese cuisine. Food in Japan is considered an art form! Even the simplest Japanese dishes are practiced and perfected by chefs who have trained for many years.
Cities and Towns throughout Japan have their own unique dishes that they are famous for. Travelling outside of one’s hometown in Japan is often motivated by trying the local cuisine of the city they are travelling to.
Rice has been a central ingredient to Japanese cuisine for over 2,000 years. In ancient times, it was traded as currency. Fish is another key ingredient to the Japanese diet and is eaten in a variety of ways:
- Almost Live (odorigui-”still dancing”)
- Raw (nama or sashimi)
- Grilled (Yaki)
- Deep Fried (tempura)
Sushi might be the most famous Japanese food in the Western World. Other staples of Japanese Cuisine are noodles, Kobe Beef & Teriyaki chicken!